Drugmaker GSK setting up new global HQ for Asia in Singapore

SINGAPORE - British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced on Wednesday that it will set up a new global headquarters for Asia in Singapore.

GSM has signed an agreement with a Boustead Development Partnership joint venture entity to develop and lease a new building in One-North in the Rochester Park area.

The move signals GSK's commitment to better support patients and consumers across the region, said chief executive Sir Andrew Witty at the launch of the new HQ on Wednesday.

This is especially as the consumer healthcare, pharmaceuticals and vaccines markets are expected to grow significantly in the emerging markets, most of which are in Asia, he said.

The new global headquarters for Asia will support local GSK businesses across the region by providing the relevant leadership, expertise, capability and services to make decisions for the company, patients and consumers.

The eight-storey facility, which spans nearly 15,000 sq m, will have capacity for up to 1,000 employees across GSK's pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare businesses.

GSK has over 700 office-based employees here and expects an additional 100 roles to move into the country as the headquarters nears completion around the end of next year.

Speaking at the launch, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister & Finance Minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, noted that the Singapore HQ will be one of three co-global "control towers" alongside the UK and US "with the full suite of capabilities and autonomy to make decisions in Asia for Asia."

Mr Tharman said Singapore is home to a vibrant biomedical industry and will continue investing in key initiatives to stay at the forefront. Biomedical manufacturing here saw output of $21.5 billion in 2014 and employs 16,800 people.

"Beyond manufacturing and R&D, we have anchored regional HQs - for 7 of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies," said Mr Tharman. "They bring together a range of commercial functions, and provide diverse career opportunities and pathways for Singaporeans."

He added that Singapore is now now looking beyond the immediate value-chain activities, to develop leadership in developing regulatory standards and to prototype new business models.

Mr Tharman also said that the Economic Development Board is also working with GSK so that it will be a strong SkillsFuture partner for Singapore.

He noted that GSK's Singapore HG will see jobs involving new regional and global roles - for GSK's pharmaceuticals, established products, vaccines, and consumer healthcare divisions - that will "provide a good pathway for Singaporeans."

GSK will also be creating its first Global Learning Centre in Singapore to host the various training programmes and allow cross learning between talent from different divisions and regions, said Mr Tharman.